TL;DR: “The FCA’s consent means that Wirecard can now resume electronic money and payment services to its customers and customers can now, or very shortly, use their cards as usual,” the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority announced recently. The FCA action frees cryptocurrency Visa cards issued by Crypto.com and TenX to restart after a wild week of €1.9 billion in cash gone missing, a CEO’s arrest, the reputation of a top-four accounting firm under fire, and eventual insolvency.
Crypto.com & TenX Visa Cards Resume Services
“The primary objective of these requirements was to protect the electronic money funds of consumers in safeguarded accounts. It also had the effect of preventing consumers from withdrawing and making payments with those funds,” the UK’s top financial regulator characterized its effective shutting-down of Wirecard AG just days ago. That action froze the services of popular Visa cards for thousands of Europeans, including offerings from cryptocurrency companies like Crypto.com and TenX.
Access to legacy payments markets means a devil’s bargain for crypto platforms: frictionless spending for customers across many more merchants while embracing the anti-ecosystem ethos of no central point of failure and reliance upon traditional finance. The tension came into full focus last week as crypto Visa card underwriting giant Wirecard AG, based in Germany and publicly-traded, was found to have new accounting irregularities during a routine audit to the tune of a missing €1.9 billion in cash.
As investigations deepened, even Wirecard board members could not verify whether the missing funds had ever existed. By that following weekend, its veteran CEO turned himself-in to Munich prosecutors. And while reports continued to surface about Wirecard’s legendary accounting problems over multiple auditing firms, well-regarded auditor Ernst & Young came under fire for potentially ignoring obvious red flags over the last three years when accepting the payments giant’s documentation. Wirecard insolvency procedures are currently underway.
While the shakeup is far from over, Crypto.com released a brief update on its blog, “We have resumed the operation of all Europe/ UK MCO Visa Cards. Kindly note that since card balances were refunded to users’ crypto wallets last week, please top up your card before using it.” Rival TenX did the same, stressing their “Visa Card has now been re-enabled, along with the Buy Bitcoin via debit/credit card feature in the TenX app,” assuring customers they “may resume using these services as per usual, with no further action needed on your part.”
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